The Memory of Him

He had the most piercing green eyes.

It was only a passing moment on those dirty steps to the train platform. He looked right into me and I felt like this had happened before. Like we had happened before. He was a stranger though; I knew him less then a minute. But in that time he made the cigarette butts and that misty rain that stung when it struck my face disappear. I think he looked away but even then I knew he was still looking. Out of a corner was all I needed. It couldn’t have lasted more than three seconds but it was forever… Then as if it never even happened, it was gone.

I walked a few steps and looked at her. She didn’t seem to notice. Or maybe she was pretending not to notice. I can never tell. I waited the right amount of time, until he was far enough away. He couldn’t hear me. I never let him hear me.

“He had the most piecing green eyes I’ve ever seen. Beautiful.” I looked at her and gave her my sly half smile. I was charming. She was charmed.

“That’s funny.” She smiled like I should have understood. But smiles are cryptic.

“What? Why?” I was confused. I stammered. I really don’t like stammering or being confused. She smiled. She sighed. She loved me a little more. I raised my right eyebrow.

“Cuz you have the most piercing blue eyes I have ever seen, silly. And I’m not the only one who has told you that.” She was right. My eyes do pierce. Did he notice? She smiled again. I’m beginning to hate it, like people in love should understand the meaning of every smile or something.

“It’s just funny that’s all.” She squeezed my hand a little tighter like she was supposed to in moments like this. I did– love her. We walked further down the road as the steps became distant. They were almost gone now, only she was near. I had to cling to that. I have to cling.

He had the most piercing green…

“Stop it!” She looked at me. It wasn’t fair. She could read my mind but I not hers. She was always doing things I couldn’t. I did want to stop it, but that furrowed look on her face just wasn’t quite enough. I don’t even know how she knew. I suppose I didn’t really try to hide it. She might well have seen him in my face. But her muscles relaxed and her jaw unclenched. She forgets easier than I do.

“Will you pick me up after class?” What? Why was she talking about class? Why was she talking! Didn’t she understand that she left me back on the steps? I wasn’t holding her hand. I was back on the cigarette butts, oblivious, smiling… Why do I always forget to smile at him?

“Uh what? Oh… yeah.” I really shouldn’t forget this time. She’s always waiting and I’m never there. I shouldn’t forget because she loves me… we’re in love. You’re not supposed to forget love because then you have nothing to remember.

“I’m sorry… I guess he just struck me strangely.”

“You’re still on him? What do you wanna have sex with him or something?” She laughed a lovely laugh. She was charming. I was charmed. She was joking.

“Yes! I want to take him into the bushes and do him here and now!” I laughed. I was–joking.

It was bitter out. We could see our breath when we laughed, freezing before our eyes… A gust of wind cut through my jean jacket and I shivered. But she stood solid, unflinching against this last assault. She was always doing things I couldn’t.

He had the most piercing…

“It’s pretty nice out for November.” It was actually frigid. I knew because her cheeks were as red as the stop light above us. So was her nose. That perfectly symmetrical little knob in the middle of her face was just freezing right now. If I kissed it she’d know she was cold. But I wasn’t feeling cruel and I didn’t feel like kissing her. At least not on the nose. I shivered; I wasn’t supposed to but I did. She noticed.

“Where’s your hat and gloves? And your scarf too? Did you lose them already? Do we have to get you one of those string things that attach the gloves like for two year olds?” She smiled. It was pretty. I was really starting to hate that. I wanted to scream and yell. I wanted to run away screaming and yelling!

She actually thought mittens would warm me up… She squeezed my hand tighter than normal. I looked at her, wondering. So I sighed and began to hum loudly.

“Don’t.” She spoke softly. Her word charmed me. Her meaning didn’t.

“What? I’m just being myself!” I was appalled by her cruelty. But she smelled so good.

“Just don’t, okay?”

“Don’t be myself? I can hard–“

“Don’t hum so loud, that’s all.” That’s all? That’s all! She smiled before I even knew she had won. He would let me be myself.

He had the most…

I thought she would say something but she didn’t. And I wasn’t about to either. So there was a profound silence between us, not in its duration but in its brevity. It had the weight of a longer silence and so I was content. The skeletal pillars that framed the street amplified the hush, the branches resonated with their tranquil power. Fall is a silent season. Even when it’s loud, it’s quiet, like someone has pressed the mute button. This sort of silence comforts me. The dying trees, the crispy leaves, the blowing wind and the wispy grey clouds calm me. No one really likes fall, unless they live in a beautiful place where the leaves are brilliant and someone else does the raking. But this was the very end of fall, so the leaves wouldn’t be brilliant anywhere. This part of fall depresses everyone. Summer has ended and winter approaches. It’s very lonely. Winter pervades a similar type of loneliness, but it’s not the same. It’s too cold to go outside in winter; you must be outside to really be alone. Alone.

He had the…

“Yoo hoo? You forget about me? You zone out sometimes! God! The only time I really have your attention is during sex! And even then–“

“Sorry.”

“I don’t mind it’s just… creepy I guess. You kinda creep me out sometimes, but not in a bad way. It’s a good thing you’re hot eh?” She laughed. I– laughed. She really was beautiful when she laughed… But she wouldn’t make me forget him. She couldn’t make me forget him.

“I love you.” She smiled. I’ll never forget him.

He had…

Her brown eyes had a soft focus as she looked up at my face. I looked into them and I saw everything. The job, the house, the kids… A tear fell down her cheek, not because she was sad but because the air resented her body heat. I watched as it trickled down her face, momentarily resting on her delicate chin before making the plunge and shattering into a million forlorn particles on the pavement.

He…

I’d already forgotten him. I’m always having to forget him.

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